The best type of wood for a fireplace is oak. It is a flexible hardwood type, which is easy to obtain. Practically every home-improvement store has oak for firewood in stock. It takes some time for the wood to start burning, but afterwards it burns slowly. A disadvantage of oak is that compared to other wood types, its play of flames is less attractive.
Do you chop your own oak wood? Then it is important to store it uncovered for two years so that rainwater can wash away the tannin (which can cause chemical reactions). Subsequently, store the wood for two additional years in a covered place.
Other types of wood
Birch is also a popular wood for a wood-burning stove. This wood is known for clean combustion so it needs little oxygen. Birch is a relatively soft wood, gives lots of heat and does not sputter.
Alder is also a soft wood type. It burns very quickly and the fast combustion also heats up the space faster. Another advantage is the lovely play of flames.
Ash is tough, hard and flexible wood. It burns slowly and gives off lots of heat. The special characteristic of ash is its unique scent.
Beech is a hardwood type that burns with a large steady flame. In addition, it burns slowly and for a long time.
Don’t use painted, varnished or treated wood
Wood which is absolutely unsuitable for your fireplace is wood that has been painted, varnished or treated. During combustion, hazardous substances are released; bad for the environment and for your health. Household waste, wood from demolitions and chipboard have similar consequences when burned.
Wood briquettes are made from pressed wood shavings and wood fibres leftover in the wood industry. Many people buy briquettes because they burn much better than other wood types. However, wood briquettes are more expensive in general than the standard firewood varieties.
Furthermore, the most important condition of firewood is that it is dry. The percentage of moisture in the wood is the determining factor. Freshly felled wood has a moisture content of approximately 50%. After one year of drying, this drops to around 20% and after two to three years to 10% to 15%. Good firewood has moisture content between 10% and 20%.